“GRAN TURISMO” (2023) is a captivating biographical sports drama that takes viewers on a thrilling high-speed journey into the world of professional racing. Directed by the talented Neill Blomkamp and featuring an exceptional ensemble cast, this film ambitiously aims to capture the very essence of the beloved racing simulation video game series developed by Polyphony Digital. While it successfully delivers exhilarating racing sequences and outstanding performances, it does face the challenge of weaving together a cohesive narrative.
Plot and Storytelling (3/5):
The film revolves around Jann Mardenborough, played by Archie Madekwe, a young retail worker and passionate Gran Turismo gamer with aspirations of becoming a professional race car driver. It traces his journey from virtual racing to real-life competition as part of Nissan’s GT Academy program. While the movie effectively captures the transformation of an ordinary gamer into a professional driver, it falters in terms of pacing and character development.
A significant controversy emerges from the film’s incorporation of Jann Mardenborough’s actual 2015 crash at the Nürburgring Nordschleife as a central element of its narrative. Although this inclusion adds a captivating layer of drama, it also raises ethical concerns regarding the exploitation of a tragic event for storytelling purposes. The film could have approached this issue with greater sensitivity and consideration.
The ensemble of the film “GRAN TURISMO” delivers exceptional performances, with Archie Madekwe leaving a lasting impression in the lead role of Jann Mardenborough. David Harbour brilliantly portrays Jack Salter, Jann’s mentor and mechanic, guiding him throughout his journey. The on-screen chemistry between the characters, particularly Jann and his love interest Audrey (Maeve Courtier-Lilley), adds a profound layer of depth to the film.
Direction and Cinematography (4/5):
Neill Blomkamp‘s direction in “GRAN TURISMO” stands out for its masterful handling of the racing sequences. The film excels in capturing the exhilarating adrenaline rush on the track, making it an absolute visual delight for racing enthusiasts. Cinematographer Jacques Jouffret’s innovative use of camera techniques, such as strategically placing sensors in confined spaces within the cars, adds an extra layer of authenticity to the racing scenes.
Soundtrack and Music (3/5):
The film’s soundtrack, meticulously crafted by the talented duo Lorne Balfe and Andrew Kawczynski, skillfully enhances the on-screen action, particularly during the exhilarating racing sequences. However, while the music seamlessly integrates with the film, it fails to leave a lasting impression and often recedes into the background.
“GRAN TURISMO” (2023) is a cinematic masterpiece that captures the exhilaration of professional racing while narrating the inspiring journey of Jann Mardenborough, from gamer to racer. With heart-pounding racing sequences and stellar performances, the film excels in delivering an immersive experience. Nevertheless, it falls short in its treatment of sensitive narrative elements, particularly in exploiting a real-life tragedy for dramatic impact.
In the end, “GRAN TURISMO” delivers an enjoyable cinematic experience for racing enthusiasts and fans of the video game series. However, it falls short of achieving greatness due to its storytelling decisions. While it may not be a flawless race to the finish line, the film undeniably provides enough excitement to captivate viewers throughout its duration.